What kind of work do Planners do?

The kind of work a planner does depends on his/her workplace setting and whether he/she has a particular specialization.

Land Use planning is the most traditional venue for planning practice. Some land use planners work on long-range comprehensive plans, developing policies to help communities achieve a future vision. Others develop and implement land use controls, such as zoning regulations, to guide development in the short-term.

Environmental planners work to manage and protect natural resources. They measure the impacts of development on the community's physical environment, and develop policies to mitigate negative impacts.

Transportation planners develop infrastructure to efficiently move people and goods within and between communities. Because of the link between transportation networks and development patterns, there is a great deal of overlap between transportation planning and land use planning.

Neighborhood planners work to preserve or revitalize neighborhoods and provide a foundation for positive social change. Neighborhood planners commonly work with citizen groups and community development corporations – non-profit agencies that coordinate neighborhood-based housing and community development programs.

Economic development planners analyze the strengths and weaknesses of local economies. They develop policies and programs to improve the economic well-being of community residents. Others planning specializations include, growth management, capital facilities planning, housing, and historic preservation.

Many planners are generalists, with a broad range of knowledge about the impacts of physical development. Good planning involves a great deal of coordination among experts from various fields and agencies. Generalist planners help to facilitate this coordination.